State Stories

16

MARCH MADNESS: 2014 Class 3A/4A Boys Basketball

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The final weekend of the Illinois high school basketball season is upon us, as the Class 3A and Class 4A state final contests take center stage at Carver Arena inside the Peoria Civic Center. The state semifinals will unfold on Friday, March 21 with the third-place and state championship games to follow on Saturday, March 22.

The March Madness Experience, an interactive basketball-fueled family fun fest located in the Peoria Civic Center exhibit halls adjacent to the arena, reopens on Thursday, March 20 and closes on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Country Financial Three-Point Showdown also continues Thursday at Carver Arena, as prelims will whittle competitors down to four shooters from Class 3A and Class 4A. The final four shooters from each class will shoot for their class titles between semifinal games on Friday. On Saturday, the champions from all four classes will return for the chance at becoming the all-class champion King of the Hill, which will take place after the Class 3A Third-Place game.

The games will air live on the IHSA TV Network (click for local listings) and will also be carried live on the internet at www.IHSA.tv. Lee Hall and Sean Harrington, who led Elgin to state before starring at Illinois, will bring viewers the 3A action, while Dave Bernhard and Gordon Tech and Southern Illinois University standout Camron Smith step in to call the 4A games. Matt Rodewald will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown.

CLASS 3A
ROCKFORD LUTHERAN CRUSADERS (30-3) vs.
LINCOLN RAILSPLITTERS (33-2)

The Crusaders and head coach Tom Guse return to the state tournament for the second time in three seasons. Senior guard Thomas Kopelman (22.9 ppg) is a premier scorer who knocked down eight treys in his last game at Carver Arena, a third-place victory in 2012. Kopelman isn’t Lutheran’s only deep threat, as junior guard Joseph Kellen (12.8 ppg) sunk seven threes en route to 31 points in Tuesday’s Super-Sectional win.
Lincoln returns to the state finals for the 13th time in school history, and its fifth under head coach Neil Alexander, in search of its first state title. The Railsplitters (what’s a Railsplitter?, click here) continue to run their vaunted 1-2-2 defense and feature a balanced offense led by junior guard Gavin Block (15.8 ppg) and senior forward Ed Bowlby (11.2 ppg). Lincoln has won 19 in a row since back-to-back losses in mid-January, with a 22.6 point average margin of victory during the streak.

MORGAN PARK MUSTANGS (22-6) vs.
ORR SPARTANS (24-4)

Defending Class 3A state champion Morgan Park and head coach Nick Irvin return to Peoria in hopes of winning the third state championship in school history. Two of the Mustangs losses this season came to Class 4A qualifiers (Stevenson, Whitney Young), while the team avenged a pair of regular-season losses to Bogan with a 68-67 win in the Super-Sectional. Josh Cunningham, a 6-8 senior forward, has emerged as the team’s top player at both ends of the floor (22.1 ppg, 15.0 rpg).
Orr returns the nucleus of the squad that helped the Spartans reach the state finals for the first time in school history a year ago. Tyquone Greer (17.5 ppg) was the hero in the Super-Sectional, as he went from being unlikely to play to hitting the game-winning three-pointer in the game’s closing seconds. Senior center Marlon Jones (15.9 ppg, 10.6 rpg) stepped up for head coach Louis Adams in Greer’s absence, netting 31 points prior to his teammates’ heroics.


CLASS 4A
WHITNEY YOUNG DOLPHINS (26-5) vs.
STEVENSON PATRIOTS (31-1)

Tyrone Slaughter has Whitney Young back at Carver Arena, as the Dolphins vie for their third title in school history. Whitney Young is led by one of the top players in the country in Duke-bound senior center Jahlil Okafor, a 6-11 center averaging 24.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Paul White (14.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg) makes the Dolphins frontline even more imposing, as the 6-9 senior forward adds more length to a squad that has yet to lose a game to an Illinois opponent this season.
Stevenson was a bit of a surprise in 2013, when the team placed second in the state with a pair of sophomores leading the team in scoring. Those sophomores, guards Jalen Brunson (25.4 ppg, 156 assists) and Connor Cashaw (17.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) took the next step this season, and Pat Ambrose’s team has followed suit, losing just once with a schedule that included four-time defending champ Simeon, Super-Sectional qualifier Marian Catholic and fellow state qualifier Benet.

EDWARDSVILLE TIGERS (30-2) vs.
BENET ACADEMY REDWINGS (24-7)

Edwardsville makes its second consecutive and fifth total state final appearance under long-time coach Mike Waldo and hopes to bring home its first state title in 2014. The Tigers fell short against Stevenson in the 2013 semifinals, before eventually placing third. Edwardsville features the one-two senior punch of forward guard Shawn Roundtree (17.4 ppg, 269 assists) and Armon Fletcher (17.5 ppg, 13.7 rpg), who will continue his playing career at Southern Illinois University next season.
Benet is making its sixth state final appearance in school history and first under sixth-year head coach Gene Heidkamp. The Redwings’ go through 6-9, 245-pound senior center Sean O’Mara, one of the top big men in the state. The Xavier commit has been a double-double machine this season and has led the Redwings in rebounding in all but one contest. Collin Pellettieri teams with O’Mara to give Benet an inside-outside threat, as the senior guard nailed a game-winning three-pointer in the final 30 seconds of Tuesday’s Super-Sectional.





 

SITE
Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center (Peoria)
Directions


SCHEDULE

Friday, March 21
Session 1
Class 3A Semifinals
Noon - Rockford Lutheran vs. Lincoln

2:00 p.m. - Morgan Park vs. Orr

Session 2
Class 4A Semifinals

6:30 p.m. - Whitney Young vs. Stevenson

8:15 p.m. - Edwardsville vs. Benet Academy

Saturday, March 22
Session 3
Class 3A Finals
Third-Place - Noon
Championship - 2:00 p.m.

Session 4
Class 4A Finals
Third-Place - 6:30 p.m.
Championship - 8:15 p.m.


INTERACT
Twitter Coverage:
@IHSAState     #IHSA

Facebook Page

Photos


WATCH
Television
Games available on IHSA TV Network. Click here for carriers and channels or check local listings.

Internet
www.IHSA.tv


LISTEN

Stations carrying all games:
WEAI 107.1 FM (Jacksonville)
 
WFMB 104.5 FM (Springfield)
Online Broadcast

WJOL 1340 AM (Joliet)
Online Broadcast

WRHL 1060 AM (Rochelle)
Online Broadcast

SportsTownChicago.com (Chicagoland) - Internet only
Online Broadcast

Stations carrying school-specific  games:
WLCN 96.3 FM (Atlanta)
Lincoln games
Internet Broadcast

WLRL 98.3 FM (Round Lake)
Stevenson games
Internet Broadcast


RESULTS & BOX SCORES

IHSA Boys Basketball Page


COUNTRY THREE POINT SHOWDOWN
Thursday, March 20
5:00 p.m. - 3A/4A Prelims

Friday, March 21
1:45 p.m. - 3A Finals
8:00 p.m. - 4A Finals

KING OF THE HILL
Saturday, March 22
1:45 p.m. - 1A, 2A, 3A & 4A champions compete


MARCH MADNESS
EXPERIENCE

Thursday, March 20
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 21
10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 22
10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.


GAME TICKETS
$6.50 per session
$8.50 per session
$10.50 per session
(MME admission is $2 or free with game ticket)


HISTORY & RECORDS
Record Book & Past Champions